Last game I played Riki for the first time (yeah, I know! :D). The opposing team had a smart Spirit Breaker who knew how to counter me: charge with dust in his pocket. Due to his superior movement speed and bashes he'd win mano a mano.

During my deaths as well as after the game I reflected on how to counter this, but came up dry. Some things I considered:

  • Stop ganking, and either start jungling or try to get my team to go into 5 man dota. This seems silly for a Riki though (to stop ganking).
  • Buy a blink dagger. Obviously that doesn't work as I'm getting hit all the time.
  • Buy boots of travel and TP out whenever I feel unsafe and/or after ganks. Seems a waste of money (I already had ability-boots) though.
  • Use diffusal blade on myself when being charged, hoping this would remove the "charge" debuff. Don't think this was/is working though? Besides: you don't know when you're being ganked. It worked only once to my advantage, to clear the dust debuff, but it seemed tough to pull off.
  • BKB to withstand the bashes (does that work?) and just go head to head with him.

Is there any reliable solution to this situation? Can you counter a Spirit Breaker with dust as a Riki?

Note that this was a pub (so rigid team coordination to evade the Spirit Breaker is not really an option, I'm really looking at what I individually can do), at a skill level of 3.2K'ish MMR.

  • Diffusal blade and having smart allies to counter ganks that stretch too far.
    – Decency
    Aug 9, 2014 at 20:56
  • Thanks for your comment. Smart allies at 3K MMR pubs is not really an option or at least not something I can control all that much, I was mainly looking to see what I could improve myself to handle this situation.
    – Jeroen
    Aug 9, 2014 at 21:44
  • I have trouble with him too, but know that it is possible to disable a charging SB with a stun/eul's scepter/hex if you are fast enough. Also, if towers are still around, you can try tower hugging, SB will most likely cancel the charge if you are in a defensive area.
    – gitsitgo
    Aug 11, 2014 at 17:45

3 Answers 3


Here are some general tips when you play as Rikimaru and you are being pressured by hard ganker.

What you have to do/consider

  • I like to buy an early ring of health in lane with Riki and transition it into a Vanguard in the mid game when I'm in that kind of situation (being heavily ganked). Vanguard will greatly increase your survivability and the passive regen helps you sustain between ganks without having to go back to base.
  • Farm Diffusal Blades as soon as possible : you can't debuff the charge (obviously) but you can debuff the dust. By doing that you'll waste a lot of Spirit Breaker's time, giving more space to your team.
  • Always have a TP scroll on yourself and TP out anytime you feel unsafe or TP out if the ganker already used his disable(s). Boots of Travel is a waste of gold as Riki need the attack speed and agitility or strength brought by the Power Treads.
  • Always have a Magic stick/wand : the quick burst of HP can often make the difference between living and dying.
  • You have one of the most obnoxious hero to play against in the early game, if you can't farm safely, just go scout for your team and set up quick gank on their mid/support/carry. Forcing them to rotate lane and buy detection. This will slow their income and they will play less agressively. Consider purchasing an Orb of Venom (for 275gold) which give a nice slow in addition of your smoke.
  • If you see him coming just drop the smoke before the charge hits you, it will greatly increase your survivability and allow you to temporize the dust debuff.

What your team have to do/consider

Even though its a pub game you can still ask for the following things to be done :

  • Ward defensively (this seems obvious but I mention it anyway : having vision is the key to shutdown heavy gankers).
  • Deward : if you are being ganked in the jungle a bit too often, it might be warded, deward the usual ward spot.
  • Use yourslef as a bait : If you are being ganked following a certain pattern (always when you farm in a lane or in the jungle), bait the ganker into killing you once more but this time with your allies nearby and counter gank him. Repeat once or twice and he will play way more passively giving you the space you need to farm.
  • Pressure the lanes, if you can't farm safely, force the enemy team to defend their towers then go back to farm.

To answer your secondary questions

  • If you need an escape mechanism consider Manta Style instead of blink dagger (your illusion also benefit from passive invisibility : this will cause a few seconds of confusion among the enemy team allowing you to attempt an escape). Furthemore Manta Style provides all the stats Riki needs (Atk speed, movespeed and a bunch of str/agi/int). Last but not least Manta dispells dust and silences on use which is cheaper than a diffusal blade charge that you can now keep for aggressive usage. If you need something more "escapy", I'd buy forcestaff so you get the passive regen and a bit more mana.
  • BKB blocks the damage from the bash (since its magical) but not the bash himself (so Spirit Breaker can still interrupt your TP).
  • 1
    Manta style is normally an effective counter to Track & Slardar's Amplify Damage - does it remove the dust debuff as well? I can't remember offhand, but it's considerably 'cheaper' than using a diffusal charge on yourself. Aug 15, 2014 at 13:38
  • Jungling is the easiest and cheapest way not to get picked off by Spirit breaker,but it will reduce all your potential,slow down your farm or he will ward your jungle and put you back on the ground zero.

  • Blink dagger doesn't look promising since you need to be fast to blink away before 1st hit,and even if you manage that I'm pretty sure you will still be charged.

  • Boots or travel or scrolls of town portal will work if you have good map control(wards) but they will add up on the gold loss.

  • Diffusal blade is the standard item for Riki with a bonus that it helps remove the dust debuff(as you mentioned you can't remove charge).Problem is you need to time it right and have enough hp to survive first few attacks. But this also falls in the water since Spirit breaker can just buy sentry wards instead.

  • BKB,blademail and other combat items won't help.First of all you can still get knocked back(bashed) through BKB...Other is that in fair combat(without backstab) you will usually lose against most heroes that can survive fog,without some advantage on your side.

  • Another items you didn't mention could be Eul or Hex,they are useless for your build but you can tornado or hex bara while he is charging you to give yourself head start or time for TP,blink invi...

Unfortunately none of which are without issues.

If you manage to put some sense in your teammates to follow you with smoke or to hide in trees you can easily turn Spirit breakers senseless harassment to your profit.

Otherwise as the last resort you will be forced to hide in shadow and follow some of your teammates until they engage in a teamfight or in a gank attempt,hoping to steal some kills.

  • +1, thanks for taking the time and providing these insights!
    – Jeroen
    Aug 10, 2014 at 11:51
  • 1
    With Eul's Sceptre you can also tornado yourself to purge the dust. Aug 15, 2014 at 11:21
  • But Blink strike does not count as a blink for the purpose of cancelling the charge? Is there a list of things you can do to dispel the charge on yourself?
    – Alper
    Oct 17, 2015 at 18:16

Linken's Sphere can block Spirit Breaker's charge and ulti. So if your only problem is being ganked by SpaceCowboy, Linken's Sphere is your best friend.

Note that if the charge already began, impact is not blocked.

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